Monday, January 14, 2008

A Time for a Gift

Hello friends,

I don't know why I love a bargain, but I just can't resist three types of signs: "sale," "clearance," and "final clearance." Yes, I am the one who is drooling over the left over fall flower bulbs and the pot-bound, never-going-to-make-it-through-winter perennials. I'm also the one who is two years behind current fashion, just hoping that a leopard skin coat will match my chartreuse high-top snow boots, or my marked- down purple snow hood. Yes, that's me in the kaleidoscope wardrobe, not giving a hoot what anyone else thinks.

I belong to every website that sells anything, and my taste is simply "closeout." If it costs more than twenty dollars, I drag my feet. If it costs over twenty-five dollars, I'm clawing the air. If it's five dollars or less, I'll buy any color, any shade, or any style. As a result, I have a lot of items that are lime-green and the orange that goes with Halloween!

I drive my family crazy, sometimes.

"Get something nice, Momma."
"Buy something pretty."
"Buy something that hasn't been on sale since 1972!"

If I bought groceries at the same rate that I buy my clothes, we'd all be dead! It's an idiosyncrasy that I have, that catapults me towards the "final markdown" section of every store in the Mall. I simply can't resist a bargain. I'm willing to buy left-over Thanksgiving decorations in February and Christmas decorations in July. My husband has absolutely put his foot down over the sale meat in the grocery store, preferring something guaranteed to keep us out of the Emergency Room. Bargains are my passion. And if it's free, boy, I am THERE!

When I raced from my church pew to my first altar call, I was flying! I suddenly understood that Salvation is free, at least for me. It took a few years longer for me to understand that it was very costly for God. I did not have a background that prepared me for the free gift of grace. I didn't understand that my "goodness" had nothing to do with it. I was raised in a religion that preached that I would go to hell, if I wasn't perfect. It was a terrifying way to grow up. Later, as an adult, I tried religion after religion. I never could find grace. Then, when I least expected it, grace found me.

I often ask the Lord, "why me?" Why did You do all of this for me? Why did Jesus remember me on the Cross? Why, after being beaten nearly to death, did He stagger under the weight of the Cross, for me? Why did He willingly go to a sinner's death, so that I wouldn't have to?

I finally shut up long enough one night, to hear God's reply:

The Race

"I've chased you down your empty life,
And I've washed away your tears.
"I've held you in each lonely night,
"And I've banished all your fears.

"I've heard your hopes reach out to me,
And I've seen your tear-streaked face;
I've seen you climbing over rocks,
And losing every race."

"But the victory I desired for you,
Is only Mine to give;
So I reached into your trembling heart,
And I taught you how to live."

So now I know I belong to Him.
I don't have to be alone.
He'll come for me when my life is through
And swiftly bring me home.

There is no other way for me.
I've made my stubborn choice.
With all my faults I'll run to Him,
And believe when I hear His voice.

Copyright, Jaye Lewis, 2008

So, here I am, friends, still an eccentric blend of faith, humor, and gratitude, knowing that I could never earn the salvation that Jesus has given me. I wasted many years running after other things. And, I've thought about this grace experience. Never cheap. Very costly for God. But free to all who desire it.

Why did I run to Him? Well, He made Himself irresistible, and my relationship with Him is worth more than gold. Beautiful. Costly. Glorious. Filled with the promise of an eternity with Him. A free gift, to totally unworthy me. How could I resist a God like that?

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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